London Bridge station: the options

The results of a study into the best option for the redevelopment of London Bridge station were unveiled last week.

The Pool of London Partnership had commissioned Arup Transport Planning to undertake a passenger capacity study for the three current options for the station.

Keeping the station as it is today – this option is seen to be inadequate and unacceptable even with current passenger numbers. The station regularly suffers from overcrowding and will be unable to cope with future passenger flows.

Thameslink 2000 – is a railway infrastructure project which will increase the number and length of trains running north-south across London and which includes the upgrade of a number of stations including London Bridge where the project partly addresses the general station capacity problem by substituting 3 terminating platforms at the station with 3 new through platforms on a new viaduct to be built adjacent to the existing through platforms. These works will be finished in 2009. At that time however, further works will be necessary to deal with capacity problems on platforms 1-4 which are not solved by Thameslink 2000. These unavoidable further works would not be finished until 2014, would raise the cost of necessary station works to about 560m but would not create any wider regeneration or social benefits at all. Thameslink 2000 also threatens part of the historic Borough Market area.

Railtrack's Masterplan proposal (including modified Thameslink 2000) – this scheme does look at the wider needs of the local area, passengers, existing regeneration activities and new regeneration opportunities. The proposal includes a comprehensive remodelling of the platforms to provide a street-level concourse, plus escalators and lifts to access all other platforms and levels. Other improvements include, widening of platforms, provision of quality office space, a public shopping mall incorporated into the station which would include shops suitable for local people's needs, new public space to reduce the barrier effect of the railway line, improved public street safety and increased job opportunities for local people. Masterplan already has full planning and listed building consent, could be completed in 2009 and at 484m costs 70m less than the combined cost of Thameslink 2000 and subsequent upgrade works to platforms 1-4.

The results of Arup's study highlighted the need for redevelopment in order to cope with existing and future passenger requirements. Also, in a comparison of the two alternative schemes, the Masterplan was seen to be the best solution for the area in terms of use of public money, reduced disruption and better regeneration opportunities.

PLP director Linda Houston commented: "It is crucial that a comprehensive station redevelopment takes place; we believe that the Thameslink scheme would work if modified to be developed in line with the wider implications of Railtrack's Masterplan proposal. This option presents the best value for public money while providing longer-term benefits for the Pool of London such as: developing a location that encourages people to spend time and money in the area; improving the travelling experience; increasing safety; creating natural links to other areas of the Pool; and complimenting nearby regeneration activities such as More London, Guy's Hospital Campus, Tooley Street improvements, London Bridge Tower and Borough Market<."

A decision from the government's public inquiry on whether to approve the Thameslink option is imminent.

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